Michael Januska was born in Windsor, Ontario. He has worked with books his whole life, both as a bookseller and for several book publishing companies. Stories from JanuskaÂ’s Prohibition-era Border City Blues series of novels and short stories have won two consecutive Scene of the Crime short story prizes. He is also the author of Grey Cup Century. He lives in Toronto.
Prohibition takes the battle, along with the party, to the streets.
Jack McCloskey returned to Windsor, Ontario, from the Great War shell-shocked and battling inner demons. Channeling his energy into amateur fights, heâ€™s noticed by a gangster sidelining as a boxing promoter. After a brief professional stint, Jack is invited to join the crew. Itâ€™s the early days of Prohibition along the Detroit River. Feeling trapped, Jack often tries to escape by throwing himself into relationships that are doomed from the start. Complicating matters further, a crime lord descends on the Border Cities, taking over all smuggling activity to finance his covert political agenda.
In sharp contrast is the story of Vera Maude, a young librarian also yearning to escape, but to the cafes of Greenwich Village or the Left Bank. All she lacks is will. The climax occurs in a gripping battle at the crime lordâ€™s house on Riverside Drive and its surprising aftermath the following morning.
This is a gritty, stylishly written novel. The tale has a Boardwalk Empire feel, and the story itself, which finds Jack searching for a killer and accidentally finding out some things about himself, is . . . dramatic and occasionally moving. Itâ€™s the authorâ€™s first novel, but readers will hope it isnâ€™t his last.
This is a writer to watch.
Windsor may look and feel a bit more like HBOâ€™s Boardwalk Empire after reading Riverside Drive, the latest release from Michael Januska.
The book is well-written, itâ€™s a great read and at fewer than 300 pages it can be finished in a relatively short time. . . [Januska] appears to be on his way to becoming a nationally recognized figure.
Itâ€™s powerful material for a novel, and Januska shows great strengths for plotting and dialogue.
Revealing the history of the Border Cities, as the story unravels, gives insight as to what it was like to live in Windsor during that time.